Research experience is an important aspect of the aspiring mathematician's education. There are many research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students, in programs across the United States and even internationally, held during summers and in semester-long programs. Conducting research with professors at IIT is another way to gain experience, and most faculty have ongoing research.
One of the best programs for undergraduates is the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), as these are organized programs that host students to work on problems for 4-8 weeks. Most programs supply housing and pay students a stipend that is roughly equivalent to having a summer job. It is important to apply for REUs early because the popular ones fill up fast, and students need to ask professors for recommendation letters.
Start looking here:
Many programs are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and most are intended for current juniors or sophomores, but there are exceptions in both cases. Many deadlines are in February, but the National Security Agency's deadline is in October!
General description of REU program
Each REU consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates, who work in the research programs of the host institution. Students are in general accepted from throughout the country. Each student is assigned to a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty, post-docs, and graduate students. In addition, seminars, lunch meetings, and social functions are organized to facilitate interaction between the undergraduates. Students are granted stipends, and in some cases assistance with housing and travel. Women and members of underrepresented minorities are particularly urged to apply. Most are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, but there are exceptions.
Short article on the web: Is an REU for you?
If you're not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident but you happen to have enough money to support yourself for the summer, then many other programs might also consider you, even if the websites say that they're limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. In that case, you can send them an email asking about (suggesting) this possibility, or simply just apply to the ones that you are interested in and mention that you don't need a stipend.
Some summer programs that have accepted non-U.S.-citizens or permanent residents in the past:
- SMALL at Williams College: Funding is available even for students who are not US citizens or permanent residents.
- Clemson: International students can be accepted but cannot receive financial support.
- Rutgers: Foreign students enrolled at a U.S. university are eligible under the DyDAn program for some topics.
- Duluth: Professor Gallian says, "On occasion, I accept undergraduates who are not US citizens nor permanent residents but I cannot provide a stipend. In these cases I may be able to provide some support for travel and cost of living."
- SURF at Caltech,
- MTBI in Arizona
- Park City Summer Course (but no stipend for non-citizens),
- UCLA IPAM-RIPS
- MBI at OSU
- A list of summer programs that focus on particular groups of students
- Besides math, there are also REUs in other areas.
- There are semester programs in mathematics.
- Mathematical Sciences at IBM has Summer Internships.
- National Security Agency. Application due in October
- National Institute of Standards and Technology has a research-type experience (SURF) and continuing summer employment (STEP). (These also have programs for graduate students.)
- More links at Drew, Stanford, and (if you scroll down to "Summer Programs") the MAA.
- John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
- The IIT Career Management Center has a list of internships and coops available for students
The situation will vary widely depending on the faculty member. There is some funding available for supporting undergraduate research at IIT. If you are interested in working with some faculty member, contact him/her directly.